The influence of the number of toys in the environment on toddlers' play

Infant Behav Dev. 2018 Feb;50:78-87. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2017.11.005. Epub 2017 Nov 27.

Abstract

We tested the hypothesis that an environment with fewer toys will lead to higher quality of play for toddlers. Each participant (n=36) engaged in supervised, individual free play sessions under two conditions: Four Toy and Sixteen Toy. With fewer toys, participants had fewer incidences of toy play, longer durations of toy play, and played with toys in a greater variety of ways (Z=-4.448, p<0.001, r=-0.524; Z=2.828, p=0.005, r=0.333; and Z=4.676, p<0.001, r=0.55, respectively). This suggests that when provided with fewer toys in the environment, toddlers engage in longer periods of play with a single toy, allowing better focus to explore and play more creatively. This can be offered as a recommendation in many natural environments to support children's development and promote healthy play.

MeSH terms

  • Child Behavior / physiology*
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Play and Playthings / psychology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Social Environment*